Norwegian Nuclear Decommissioning (NND), which is responsible for radioactive waste management in Norway, has awarded an extensive framework agreement to Geological Repositories for Norway (GeoReN) to support NND with expertise in developing radioactive waste management concepts and solutions.

The GeoReN consortium comprises A-Insinöörit Oy of Finland (AINS Group), BGE Technology GmbH of Germany (BGE TEC), Geological Survey of Finland (GTK), Mitta Oy of Finland (Mitta), Posiva Solutions Oy of Finland (PSOY) and the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), with subcontracting assistance from Rambøll of Norway.

The work covers the development of disposal solutions for used nuclear fuel and other radioactive waste streams in Norway. The framework agreement, worth €40 million, includes significant technical assistance for NND in the upcoming years, with the GeoReN team as the sole provider of services as a single framework award. The agreement initially runs for two years, but can be extended to a maximum of four years.

The team has extensive experience in radioactive waste management and geological repository development. The disposal concepts and technical support offered are based on concrete experience from several repositories, both operational and under construction, encompassing different geologies and concepts, and covering all radioactive waste types and streams from low- and intermediate-level operational, and decommissioning waste to high-level research reactor used fuel.

"NND is looking forward to cooperating with GeoReN who have a unique track record in developing safe solutions for radioactive waste disposal, thus enhancing stakeholder confidence in our operations," said NND Chief Technology Officer Nils Bøhmer.

Teemu Laurila, responsible for Mitta's nuclear waste management business, noted that the new framework agreement is a continuation of a framework agreement signed three years ago, in which Mitta's experts were involved in a consortium formed by AINS, BGE and VTT. Now the same organisations will continue the work, supplemented by the expertise of GTK, Posiva Solutions and Rambøll.

NND was established as an agency under the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Fisheries in 2018. it is responsible for decommissioning research reactors and other related nuclear infrastructure, as well as the safe handling, storage and disposal of radioactive waste. Norway's two research reactors – the nuclear fuel and materials testing reactor at Halden and the JEEP-II neutron scattering facility at Kjeller – were permanently shut down in June 2018 and April 2019, respectively.

Image: Artist's impression of the surface facilities at the proposed Norwegian repository (courtesy of GeoReN)